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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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regarding the difficulties over the execution of the Agreement of July 30th,

Sikorsld had gone to Russia with the idea of endeavouring to settle the
Polish affairs directly with the Soviet Government. He had gone with
the full agreement of the British Government, anxious to improve and
strengthen Polish-Russian collaboration to the maximum degree. Although
it appeared that matters had been settled in a favourable way, in a few
weeks time., at the end of December, news came from Russia which had an
ominous ring in the ears of the Poles. The Soviets were not executing
their part part of the July Agreement  all the Poles were not being released
and Sikorski's visit seemed to have made no marked difference to their
situation. The fate of thousands was still unknown, while many, it was
revealed, were still being held in the Russian prisons. The organising of
the Polish Army was encountering incredible and unforeseen difficulties.
Already by the end of November the Kremlin had come to the conclusion
that the climax of its crisis on the front-line had been reached, and that
the Soviet regime, in spite of heavy defeats, was still strongly established.
No doubt during this period the conviction began to spread in the
Kremlin that sooner or later they would be able to pass over to the
offensive against Germany. A Polish Army might have proved useful in
the defence of the Soviet Union, but when Russia's advance Westward,
which was eventually intended to reach Poland began, this would no
longer be the case.
It is difficult to understand why Stalin made an Agreement with
Sikorski for the recruitment of 123,000 men and why he again emphasised
his willingness to permit the formation of an Army on Russian soil, if
at the same time and due to the Kremlin's insistence on the exclusion
of those who, though Polish citizens, were not of Polish blood,
the number of men available for recruitment had been considerably
reduced. Furthermore, a few weeks later, when the Recruiting Commis-
sions were set up, the Soviet Government openly violated Article 6 of the
Polish-Soviet Military Agreement, by composing these recruiting boards
in the districts containing deportees, from Soviet officials, whereas^ under
the provision of that Article, they were to function with the "assistance of
the Soviet authorities " only. Thus the decision rested entirely with the
Russians as to which men were to be allowed to enlist in the Polish
Forces. It was soon evident that they were not particularly anxious to
increase the size of the Polish Army for every able-bodied person not of
Polish m blood, who came under the * Decree mentioned in the
Soviet Note of December ist, was conscripted to the Red Army. From
January, 1942, other evidence of the Russians* unwillingness in this
direction began to be made manifest. The notices of conscription were
not handed by the postal authorities to the recipients for whom they were
intended. The railways refused to transport the Poles who did not have
* Stronski S0 Wiadomo&i Polskie, London, 1941.